Five Tracks From Drake’s ‘Scorpion’ That Are Actually Worth Listening To
Because not all of us have time to listen to a 25-track album.
The old adage ‘Quality, not quantity’ isn’t one that Drake lives by.
While other top-shelf hip-hop releases this year have kept their tracklists relatively tight (Pusha T’s Daytona was seven songs, as was Kid Cudi and Kanye’s KIDS SEE GHOSTS) Drake decided to go as big as he possibly could.
His fifth studio album Scorpion, which dropped last Friday, is a marathon listen. With 25 tracks spread over two discs, its total running time comes in just shy of 1 hour and 30 minutes — and as you would expect with an album of that length, there is a lot of filler. Scorpion doesn’t sting, it bloats.
That said, there are some true gems hidden among the tracklist, and we’ve gone through them all to unearth them — get stuck in.
‘Don’t Matter To Me (feat. Michael Jackson)’
There were a lot of surprises hidden within Scorpion — the biggest being Drake’s confirmation that he has a child called Adonis, just like Pusha T said.
But away from unexpected offspring, the next biggest shock came in the form of an unreleased Michael Jackson track cropping up as a sample in ‘Don’t Matter To Me’. Reportedly, the MJ song was written in collaboration with Canadian singer Paul Anka back in the ’80s, but for whatever reason it ended up being shelved.
Drake worked with Anka earlier this year in the lead up to Scorpion, which is presumably how he got his hands on the unreleased track (just how much Drake paid for the luxury of featuring the King of Pop on his album remains a secret).
The combination of Michael Jackson’s weightless falsetto and Noah ’40’ Shebib’s understated, warm production make ‘Don’t Matter To Me’ far and away the most gorgeous moment on Scorpion.
‘Nice For What’
‘Nice For What‘ isn’t just the best song on Scorpion, it might just be the best Drake single of all time.
The genius of the track, of course, lies in its sample: Lauryn Hill’s ‘Ex-Factor’ is spliced and sped up into a propulsive beat, which gives the track a lightness and a sense of fun (gasp!) that we rarely see in Drake songs anymore. And really, Drake is at his best when he’s happy and cutting loose.
It’s also the only track on Scorpion (or More Life or Views for that matter) that could comfortably carve up a dancefloor. Turn it up, and watch those asses drop.
The worst moments on Scorpion happen when Drake is allowed to roam free over bloodless production that never should have seen the light outside of the studio (‘I’m Upset’, ‘Is There More’).
But the benefit of all that filler is that it throws a better light on tracks that actually do slap, like the guttural ‘Nonstop’. Drake flexes further than usual on this one, pushing his normally lax vocals up against the shuddering bass, creating a momentum that is sorely lacking elsewhere on Scorpion.
‘Nonstop’ also lays claim to the best bass line on the record, provided by up-and-coming producer Tay Keith. He’s only worked with Drake on one track before this — the 2018 BlocBoy JB collab ‘Look Alive‘ — but it probably won’t be the last.
‘That’s How You Feel’
If you’ve been pining after the plush production and icy atmosphere of Nothing Was The Same, you’ll find some comfort in ‘That’s How You Feel’.
Drake treads familiar lyrical territory here — that is, tying himself in knots about whether the girl he likes feels the same way about him — but he does it over the snakiest and most seductive beat on Scorpion.
The song also scores one of the best-used samples on the record: a live version of Nicki Minaj’s remix of PTAF’s ‘Boss Ass Bitch’. I’m telling ya, they belong together.
‘Summer Games’ is another one for those that stopped listening to Drake in 2016, but never quite lost hope that he would return to his Take Care glory.
Noah ’40’ Shebib is on production duties again here, laying down a springy New Wave base for Drake to wax lyrical about the one who got away. There’s been a fair amount of speculation that ‘Summer Games’ is about Drake’s on-off-who-knows relationship with fellow superstar Rihanna — more specifically, how it apparently ground to a halt in mid-2016.
It was just after that we witnessed Drake’s excruciatingly awkward MTV Video Vanguard Award speech, in which his professed his love to Rihanna on stage, and went in for — and was denied — a kiss.
That may not have worked out all that well, but at least ‘Summer Games’ did.
Jules LeFevre is Junkee’s Music Writer. She thinks Drake needs to chill out for a couple of years before releasing another album. She is on Twitter.